The benefits of sharing S.P.A.C.E.

Tucked away in Burlington’s South End, the Soda Plant Artist Collective Environment (S.P.A.C.E.) looks unassuming from the outside, only to reveal an active community of artists inside. Functioning as both studio space and an art gallery, S.P.A.C.E. was the brainchild of artist Christy Mitchell, who rejected the isolation of a private studio to work with other artists.”I really like being around creative people,” Mitchell said. “I feel like I didn’t have a choice.”When she first came to Burlington, Mitchell saw galleries close down one by one. “I saw a lot of creative people, but not a place for them,” Mitchell said.Beth Robinson, an artist who creates “strange dolls” and is part of the collective, was attracted to S.P.A.C.E. for Mitchell’s “big ideas.” “Christy [Mitchell] was really open to growing it and making it a part of the community,” Robinson said. “It was a real artists’ collective experience.” “My idea with this gallery was that the rent would be paid by its tenants,” Mitchell said. “We’re not reliable on sales from the gallery,” which can allow S.P.A.C.E. to host art that is not necessarily sellable.Local artists agree with Mitchell’s sentiments. “Burlington needs more of these type of studio collectives,” Burlington artist Adam Glazer said.Merging the studio spaces with the gallery, each member of the collective can show their work in the gallery one month out of the year.Mitchell insisted that fame isn’t a prerequisite to showing work in the gallery. “You don’t have to be really well-known,” Mitchell said.On Oct. 2, S.P.A.C.E. is opening a Halloween show which will close on Oct. 31 with a party. Although creating S.P.A.C.E. has been a lot of work for Mitchell, she has kept up her enthusiasm throughout of the project.”You have to love what you’re doing to do something like this,” Mitchell said. “It’s been my pet project.”And her enthusiasm has produced much more than she initially expected.”It has a really good energy,” Mitchell said.”It has exceeded my expectations,” Robinson said.S.P.A.C.E. gallery and studios is located at 266 Pine Street Suite 105, and currently hosts 11 artists.